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I guess I don’t trust the Cloud

Fourth instalment in my ‘degrowth’ series: how and why I use the cloud (not), with a closing note about backup.

Simone Silvestroni's avatar

I basically use zero cloud systems, even though I was an eager early adopter, because of the following reasons:

  1. I inherently don’t trust any of the suppliers, in terms of security, surveillance, and the uncomfortable feeling of depending on some distant corporation for accessing my files.
  2. A string of bad experiences — data loss, mostly;
  3. A complete hatred for the amount of data transferred, which has a snowballing effect on how much electricity is consumed.
  4. I’m not constantly connected to the internet, neither I want to, so having files locally available at all times is paramount.
  5. I don’t actually need a cloud.

I removed any data from iCloud and other services a few years ago. I still have a free Dropbox account with 7.5 GB of space, only used to share music material with a couple collaborators, three or four times a year. Since I don’t want to get near their awful desktop client, Transmit on the Mac is the perfect tool to manage those files.

To keep a few relevant files in sync between devices (a Mac and an Android phone), plus a folder shared with my wife, I use the open source Syncthing. The only other two things that I actually need are address book and calendar, a feature easily achieved through’s calDAV and cardDAV.

I don’t stream music. We use a local music library on a fast SSD, shared using our old Airport Extreme. Whenever I want some music on the go, I just connect my phone to the Mac and use Commander One to copy whatever I fancy listening to. Had I not needed two SIMs, I would have probably cloned the entire library on an SD card.

To reiterate, I seriously don’t want anything else synced between computer and smartphone. I’m aware that I too fell victim to the induced need to have everything with me at all times — not anymore. Why should I carry a productivity system in my pocket? Yet another toxic habit that I happily ditched. I’d rather play a video game while on a train trip, maybe read an article or two, send a couple messages. If I really have to jot down something while on the go, I’ll open a text editor and write. No need for a cloud, especially one that I don’t own or control.

A word on backup

After a few years using Backblaze as a cloud-based off-site backup failsafe, I quit six months ago, so I’m back to keeping all my backups local. Following a 3-2-1 rule, the third complete set of backup is indeed off-site, meaning it’s temporarily hosted at a friend’s house. As soon as we re-settle in the UK, we might rent a safety box. It’ll cost more than Backblaze, but it’ll be available at a bike ride’s distance.

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